WisconsinChild Support Laws
Wisconsin Child Support Guide :: Table of Contents
Child support is an ongoing payment by a non-custodial parent to assist with the financial support of their children. Child support payments are often determined during the process of dissolution of a marriage through divorce, though the only requirements for requesting child support payments are establishment of paternity and maternity.
Child support is handled on a state level, and Wisconsin has a set of specific child support guidelines. On this page you can learn about how child support is calculated in Wisconsin, how custody split and extraordinary costs affect child support payments, and more.
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Wisconsin is one of the minority of states that uses the "percentage of income" method for calculating child support payments.
Wisconsin's child support formula directly accounts for parents who share custody of a child, and support payment amounts are connected to the custody split. Other special situations accounted for under Wisconsin's child support law include childcare costs and extraordinary medical costs. These costs may be additions to the basic Wisconsin child support order.
How is Child Support Assigned?If the judgment or order providing for the support of a child who is placed in a residential care center for children and youth, juvenile correctional institution, or state mental institution includes support for one or more other children, the support that is assigned to the state shall be the proportionate share of the child placed in the center or institution, except as otherwise ordered by the court or circuit court commissioner on the motion of a party.
A party obtaining an order for temporary maintenance, child support, or family support payments shall promptly file the order, together with all pleadings in the action, with the clerk of court.
If maintenance, child support, or family support payments are not paid to the department or its designee at the time provided in the judgment or order, the county child support agency
Child support can be arranged out of court by a mutual support agreement between the parents, or can be decided in Wisconsin family court through a child support order. In Wisconsin, a number of factors are taken into account when determining the amount of child support to be paid in court. Here is an explanation of the two most common methods used to calculate basic child support amounts.
Income Share Method
Under the income share model, the court uses economic tables to estimate the total monthly cost of raising the children. The non-custodial parent pays a percentage of the calculated cost that is based on their proportional share of both parents' combined income.
Example: The non-custodial parent of one child has an income of $2,000 per month, and the custodial parent has an income of $1,000 per month. The court estimates that the cost of raising one child is $1,000 a month. The non-custodial parent's income is 66.6% of the parent's total combined income. Therefore, the non-custodial parent pays $666 per month in child support, or 66.6% of the total child support obligation.
Percentage Of Income Method
This method of calculating child support is simple - a set percentage of the non-custodial parent's income is paid monthly to the custodial parent to cover basic child support expenses. The percentage paid may stay the same, or vary if the non-custodial parent's income changes.
Example: The non-custodial parent of one child has an income of $2,000 per month. The court orders a flat percentage of 25% of the non-custodial parent's income to be paid in child support to the custodial parent. Therefore, the non-custodial parent pays $500 per month in child support. If the non-custodial parent's monthly income changes, the dollar amount they pay in child support will change as well.
Wisconsin Child Support FAQ
- How does having shared custody of the child affect child support in Wisconsin?
- How are extraordinary medical costs treated by child support in Wisconsin?
- How are child care costs treated by child support in Wisconsin?
- Does child support cover college education expenses in Wisconsin?
- How is child support enforced in Wisconsin?
- What are child support arrears?
- How are child support payments taxed in Wisconsin?
How does having shared custody of the child affect child support in Wisconsin?
All states have a method of modifying the amount of child support owed in cases where the custody agreement provides for joint or shared custody of a child between both parents.
Wisconsin law accounts for shared custody of a child directly in the child support formula used to calculate payment amounts. This means that, in cases where custody is shared, the amount of child support paid by the paying parent will be reduced according to the amount of time they have custody of the child.
How are extraordinary medical costs treated by child support in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin has specialized guidelines for the sharing of a child's extraordinary medical care costs that are separate from, and in addition to, basic child support payments. Extraordinary medical costs are generally costs generated by things such as illness, hospital visits, or costly procedures such as getting braces.
Wisconsin treats extraordinary medical care costs as a "deviation factor", which means that the judge determining the amount of child support to be paid may take ongoing medical care costs into account when calculating the monthly amount to be paid. This means that in situations where the custodial parent needs to pay child care costs, the judge may raise the child support payments in order to help cover them.
How are child care costs treated by child support in Wisconsin?
Due to the high costs of child care for a single payment, Wisconsin has specialized guidelines that consider child care costs separately from the general costs of raising a child for the purposes of calculating child support payments.
Wisconsin treats child care costs as a "deviation factor", which means that the judge determining the amount of child support to be paid may take child care costs into account when calculating the monthly amount to be paid. This means that in situations where the custodial parent needs to pay child care costs, the judge may raise the child support payments in order to help cover them.
Does child support cover college education expenses in Wisconsin?
While the state of Wisconsin has no explicit requirement for college expenses to be covered under child support, support for college expense by the non-custodial parent may be voluntarily agreed to by both parties, after which it is contractually enforceable.
How is child support enforced in Wisconsin?
In the state of Wisconsin, child support is enforced by the state child support agency. The state agency handles the location of non-custodial parents, enforcement of support orders, and the handling of unpaid child support arrears.
What are child support arrears?
Child support arrears are the amount of child support that is delinquent, or unpaid, by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent. Child support arrears may be collected by the state through wage garnishment, bank levy. withholding of Wisconsin welfare benefits, or other collection methods.
How are child support payments taxed in Wisconsin?
Under IRS guidelines, the recepient of child support does not need to pay federal tax on child support payments, and the payer of child support cannot deduct their child support payments. This differs from the federal taxation of alimony payments, which are treated as taxable income by the receiver and are deductible by the payor. Wisconsin tax law may vary on tax treatment of child support.